Chapter Four

Honah Lee

The next day, back on the high seas, Puff presented jackie with a gold medal on a purple ribbon. "For bravery above and beyond the call of dragons," he said quite officially.
"I was brave?" asked Jackie. "I took another step?"
Puff was about to answer, when suddenly the boat hit solid land with a sickening crunch, sending them both sprawling. they had been so busy woth the medal ceremony that they had failed to notice a rock-strewn island looming up ahead of them.
"LAND HO!" shouted Jackie as he picked himself up.
"So it would seem," agreed Puff, looking about. "But... but... where are we?"
Oh, it was a grim and dreary sight: a dank grey place, seen through a sheet of icy rain, all wet and clammy and most unpleasant.
Puff gasped. "It can't be!"
"You recognize this place, Puff?"
The dragon nodded yes, then cried "It's... it's... Honah Lee!"
A chill went though Jackie. "Honah Lee? But what happened to it?"
"Something terrible, Jackie, while I was gone."
Jackie pointed to the beach. "Come on, let's take a look around."
Puff pulled back. "No, I'm afraid!" And he flopped down like a big, frighted puppy dog.
Jackie was astounded. "You, Puff? Afraid?"
"Uh-huh, " nodded Puff.
"Just like I was before you came?"
"Well, it's my turn to help now. Come on!" He held out his hand. Puff took it tentatively, and the two of them made their way up onto the rocky beach.
Presently they came upon a group of signs poking up from behind a large, ugly boulder. Puff read them aloud:


Some more signs popped up, and Jackie read them:


"what on earth is a living sneeze?" asked Puff.
As if to answer him, a strange craeture leaped out from behind the rock. It was mostly an anormous red nose, with a small mouth under it, and little, bleaary eyes above.
"KAAAA-CHOOO!" it explained.
Jackie ran up toit. "Are you a living sneeze, sir?" he asked politely.
"What do i look like, a hiccup?" said the sneeze nastily. "KA-CHOOOO!" it added.
then several dozen other sneezes poked their noses over the rocks. "KA-CHOO! KA-CHOO! KA-CHOO! KA-CHOO!" they agreed.
Jackie turned to puff. "Don't worry, Puff! I'll take care of this." And he walked up to the largest of the sneezes.
Honah Lee? "Do you realize you are trespassing?" he asked.
"So what?! KA-CHOO!" sneered the sneeze.
"I'm sure Puff wouldn't mind," said Jackie. "He shares everything. But why do you ruin things?"
"because we're uncomfortable! KA-CHOOOOO!" he explained.
And the other sneeze all nodded their noses. "Unnnnn-comfortable! KA-CHOO! KA-CHOO! KA-CHOO!" they repeated.
"But why are you uncomfortable?" asked Jackie.
"Wouldn't you be uncomfortable," said the large sneeze, "If you were nothing but a nose, all stopped up and red and sore? KA-CHOO!" he argued.
Jackie understood his argument. He dashed back to his friend. "Puff! they are what they are because they feel so awful! Use your magic to make them better!"
Puff sighed. "Honah Lee is my magic. And if it is spoiled, so are my magic powers."
Jackie had never seen his friend so unhappy. At thatt moment, all the sneezes exploded into a symphony of "KA-CHOOS," and Puff looked more distressed than ever. he had never intended to bring Jackie into a situation such as this.
"Jackie, you must go home. you've completed your quest and don't seem frightened anymore."
"I wouldn't leave you, Puff."
Puff realized that in order to make Jackie leave he would have to pretend to be angry. He frowned and snapped, "I have all I can do to put up with the sneezes. You'd be just a bother to me. I want you to take the boat and go!"
Jackie felt crushed. Still, an order was an order. "Yessir, if you say so, Puff."
All alone. He turned and walked off. In a few moments he was back in the boat, sailing away from the terible sneezy place Honah Lee had become.
Sadly, Puff watched Jackie go. then he turned and walked along the barren beach to his cave. he had never felt so alone in his life.
The sneezes all slid down behind their slimy rocks and went to sleep. the cold rain continued to fall.

A dragon lives forever
But not so little boys,
Painted wings and giant rings
Make way for other toys.
One grey night it happened,
Jackie Paper came no more
And Puff that mighty dragon,
He ceased his fearless roar

His head was bent in sorrow,
Green scales fell like rain,
Puff no longer went to play
Along the cherry lane.
Without his life-long friend,
Puff could not be brave
So Puff that mighty dragon,
Sadly slipped into his cave.

Puff lost track of the many days and nights he spent in that cave. He thought perhaps he would never come out again. Never! As a matter of fact, he was thinking this thought for the thousandth time when he heard a voice, far off in the distance.
"Puff! Puff! It's me! I'm back!"
the dragon lifted his great head and poked it out of the cave. "Could it be Jackie?" he wondered.
A hint of hope? it certainly was! his little friend came sliding up tot he cave as if he was a baseball player and Puff were home plate!
"What are you doing here?" cried Puff happily.
"Aw, Puff, you didn't think I'd leave you for good, did you? I went to get help. We'll fix those sneezes, Puff. Look who I brought!"
Puff looked up. Way up. towering over the island was Very Long John, dressed in his chef's suit. He carried a big pot of soup in one hand and a gigantic spoon in the other.
Jackie cried out, "Very Long, do your stuff!"
All this commotion awakened the sneezes. they poked their noses out from behind the rocks and watched as very Long dipped the spoon into the pot and began to sprinkle its contents down onto them.
"Chicken soup?" said Puff, amazed.
"Best cure in the whole world for sneezes," said Jackie.
By now the chicken soup was pouring down al over the place, drenching the sneezes. At first they seemed frightened. But in a few seconds their mouths turned upwards in grins, and they began to chortle with delight.
"It's like rain!"
"But beautiful!"
"And all nummy, nummy, nummy!"
Soon, a large lake of soup had formed. the sneezes jumped in, floated on their backs, splashed, and dunked each other playfully. Indeed, this was the most glorious moment of their sad, sniffling lives.
Before long, all their noses had becomed normal-sized, the soreness was gone, and the word "KA-CHOO!" was dropped from their vocabulary.
Jackie walked up to them, put his fingers in his mouth, and gave them a sharp whistle to get their attention. "Okay , neighbours," he shouted, "now that you are all cured, let's fix up Honah Lee the way it used to be!" And because sometimes a song is more inspiring then mere words, he began to sing, "Weave, weave, weave me the sunshine out of the falling rain. Weave me the hope of a new tomorrow, and fill my cup again!"
Back to normal. Soon everyone began to sing. And the glorious song kept tempo with their work. And as they all worked and sang together, the colour and beauty came back to Honah Lee. It was alive again, just as it had been before.
And finally, wonder of wonders, the little star, whom Jackie had saved, came soaring out of the skies like a fiary comet, the magic of her cosmic tail mingling with the falling rain and actually weaving it into sunshine.
jackie closed his eyes for a second, and when he opened them again, he was back in his room at home.



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Chapter 5



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